Parker Lewis Can't Lose, a Fox (!) teen comedy from 1990-93:
My God, they literally copied all the 'fridge from behind' shots in MITM from this series (which I thought must be totally original), and there's also the first-person narration, no laugh track, the exaggeration of characters, weird sound effects, skewed shots, digitized transitions, speeded-up footage, doctored videotape. Tribute, plagiarism or coincidence? Aaaargh!
Note that this was heavily influenced by the teen movie "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", by the late John Hughes, which also frequently broke the fourth wall by talking to the audience!
Youtube users commented on the similarity:
Another remarkably astute quote from site dvdverdict.com:AJxn3 (9 months ago)
Parker Lewis is like a crossbreed between Kevin Arnold (The Wonder Years) and Ferris Bueller (Day Off).
I never really noticed that back then...
Nkkicute (7 months ago)
This show actually reminds me more of
Malcolm in the Middle, because he narrates
the show too.
So they even had the whooshing-sound!Looking back nearly twenty years (!) later, there's almost no way Parker Lewis Can't Lose could have succeeded in the long run. It was too far ahead of its time: a single-camera sitcom, devoid of a laugh track, reveling in absurd humor and incredibly inventive camera work. When the show debuted in 1990, America was still watching ALF. You can tell where our tastes were at.
But Parker Lewis (as it would later be called, and which I'm going to call it because I'm too lazy to keep typing two more words) is a very entertaining show, and well deserving of the cult it's developed since it was canceled after three seasons on the air. It's the kind of show that would likely only ever be appreciated by a certain group of people, anyway; it was almost designed to be a cult show.
The cast is cartoonish, yes, but so is the show—it's all "whooshing" sound effects and shattering glass and wild, Raising Arizona-era Coen-brothers photography.
Frequent MITM director Jeff Melman directed two episodes of this series!
The Adventures of Pete and Pete (Nickelodeon, 1993-95)
Again, more so than in Parker Lewis, first-person narration looking at the audience, no laugh track, this time an intro written by an indie pop group (in this case Polaris, plus guest appearances by cool rock stars Debbie Harry (Blondie), Michael Stipe (REM), David Johansen (New York Dolls/Buster Poindexter), LL Cool J, Luscious Jackson, Kate Pierson (B-52's), Syd Straw etc.), loony characters, surreal situations, very smart writing!
(In the segment shown, the girl with the black braids holding the blue popsicle is Heather Matarazzo, of later 'Welcome To The Dollhouse', 'The Princess Diaries' and 'Now And Again' fame. Kate Pierson is blind Mrs. Van Devere. If you watch the last part of this episode, you'll see Michael Stipe doing a weirdly brilliant bit as an icecream vendor!)
Quote from site tvdvdreviews.com
RichThe Adventures of Pete & Pete is one of the hippest kids' shows ever produced. It manages to jointly appeal to young audiences (in this case, preteens and up) and adults. The series combines the sentiment of The Wonder Years with the irreverent humor of Malcolm in the Middle (without Malcolm's harder edge) in a way that is simultaneously sweet and outrageously funny.